Applied Linguistics and TESOL (with Professional Experience) MA

A student and teacher in a one on one meeting
Mode of Study
2 years full-time with work placement
Start Date
September 2022, January 2023


Are you a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL, ELT, EFL, EAP)?

If so, or if you're looking to begin a career as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, this 2-year MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL (with Professional Experience) degree will enable you to enhance your skills and employability with real workplace experience. 

If you've completed initial ELT, TESOL or TEFL teacher training but you don't yet have a minimum of three months full-time teaching experience, you can still apply for this course and do an extra module to build up your practical teaching skills.

During your first year you'll be taught by our linguistics experts at the University, learning to apply the latest TESOL theory to classroom situations and critically evaluate your own approaches to teaching in a global context. You'll also work on lesson and course planning and design, and learn how to conduct and analyse research into teaching techniques.

In year 2, you'll apply your learning on a 12-month work placement or professional experience programme tailored to your career goals.

You'll graduate with the communication and intercultural skills and expertise to work as a more effective and well-rounded TESOL practitioner, in the UK or overseas. You could also go on to roles in areas such as educational management or leadership, curriculum development, editing, publishing or advertising.

Prefer to study without a work placement?

You can also study for this Applied Linguistics and TESOL Master's in just 1 year without spending a year building professional experience.

Entry requirements​

MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A second-class honours degree or equivalent, plus initial teacher training and a minimum of three months full-time, relevant teaching experience.
  • If you do not have relevant teaching experience, you can still apply for our campus programme, and you will study an additional non-credit bearing module, The Classroom Practice of TESOL, at no additional cost.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Gain first-hand experience on a 12-month professional experience module or work placement related to your chosen career, allowing you to apply theory to practice and build a solid professional network
  • Enhance your abilities to teach English to speakers of other languages in the UK and around the world
  • Expand your knowledge of the theories and methods used in linguistics, and conduct and analyse research into teaching techniques
  • Reflect on your classroom practice in order to improve the way you teach
  • Learn to effectively plan and design lessons and courses

Facilities and specialist equipment

Students talking in language labs room at computers

Digital Language Laboratories

Perfect your listening and comprehension skills in a rich, multi-media language learning environment. Find out how to integrate and manipulate video, sound, text and internet sources in different languages.

Learn more

International students in a cafe

Global Café

You can meet students from all over the world at the Global Café on Wednesday afternoons. Learn about other's cultures and practise speaking in each other's languages while making new friends and getting to share your own culture.

Careers and opportunities

English is a global language. It's taught and learned all around the world – so much so that people who have learned it as a second language now outnumber native English speakers (ThoughtCo).

Those who teach English to speakers of other languages need expert training in the field, both theoretical and in the classroom, in order to provide the highest standards of teaching.

This Master's course will give you an internationally-recognised qualification, a year of professional experience, and the linguistics and teaching theory to gain a competitive advantage and deliver the best possible TESOL training.

What areas can I work in with a Master's degree in applied linguistics and TESOL?

Previous students of the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL have gone on to teach English to speakers of other languages at universities, language schools and private schools in the UK and abroad, taught ESOL in the community, or continued their studies. Some have taken on more advanced roles in their current places of work, such as Director of Studies (DoS) and Assistant Director of Studies (ADoS).

You could also go on to work in areas such as:

  • teaching other languages
  • educational management and/or leadership
  • teacher training
  • materials writing
  • curriculum development
  • editing
  • publishing
  • advertising

Work experience and career planning

If you're not already in work when you join us, our Careers and Employability Service is on-hand to help you find relevant work experience during your course – and to help you find a great job when you graduate too.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

​What you'll study

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 1 module worth 60 credits and 4 modules worth 30 credits.

You'll also do a Placement Preparation module, which isn't worth any credits but gets you ready to identify, secure and apply for a relevant work placement.

The Classroom Practice of TESOL module

If you don't have a minimum of three months full-time teaching experience, you'll do an extra non-credit bearing module to build on your practical teaching skills – The Classroom Practice of TESOL.

This module gives you the opportunity to discuss, share and explore practical classroom techniques and materials in an informal workshop setting, including micro-teaching and guest speakers from publications such as National Geographic and Cambridge University Press.

Modules – Year 1

Core and optional modules

Core modules

  • Second Language Acquisition – 30 credits
  • Theory and Practice of TESOL – 30 credits
  • Dissertation – 60 credits
  • Placement Preparation – 0 credits

Optional modules

  • Using Technology and Corpora in Learning, Teaching and Research – 30 credits
  • World Englishes – 30 credits
  • Analysing, Evaluating and Writing Material – 30 credits
  • Analysing Discourse – 30 credits
  • Professional Portfolio – 30 credits

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

12-month's professional experience

The second year of this degree is dedicated to gaining professional experience.

You'll do this by doing either a 12-month work placement or a 12-month professional experience programme, after you've completed your year of taught studies.

Work placement

A work placement gives you the opportunity to get valuable professional experience in an area related to your chosen career.

You can begin looking and applying for placements after completing your first teaching block. You'll get support from the Careers and Employability Centre and the Faculty Placement Team in identifying and applying for suitable placements, and enhancing your employability skills.

Placement opportunities are likely to be in the following areas:

  • teaching in English language schools
  • working as a language assistant in local schools
  • publishing
  • advertising
  • journalism and the media, including social media

Note that work placements can't be guaranteed because it depends on their availability and the specific needs of placement providers. We'll give you the support you need to identify work placements but you'll be responsible for securing a placement successfully.

Professional experience programme

If you're unable to secure a work placement, you'll complete a professional experience programme designed to meet your career aspirations.

You'll further develop your employability and teaching skills and prepare yourself for the workplace.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • seminars
  • workshop sessions
  • one-to-one and group tutorials
  • academic skills development workshops

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a web connection.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • case study analysis
  • oral presentations
  • report writing
  • written assessments
  • role plays/simulation
  • dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

How you'll spend your time

We recommend you spend 40 hours a week studying for your Applied Linguistics and TESOL Master's.

Year 1 – at university

You’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Your first year will run as follows, with breaks at Christmas and Easter:

  • September/October to December/January – teaching block 1
  • January/February to May – teaching block 2
  • May/September – dissertation

Year 2 – professional experience

During the 12 months of your professional experience module, your working hours will depend on your employer and role but are likely to be around 35–40 hours a week.

You'll also do around 7 hours of seminars/tutorials and work on your assessment, for which you'll need to dedicate independent study time.

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

September 2022 and January 2023 start

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £9,400 (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement)
  • EU students: £9,400 a year (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement and including Transition Scholarship)
  • International students: £16,200 (plus £1,620 for the work-based module/placement)

All fees may be subject to annual increase.

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 8 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying and memory sticks.

You may have to cover the cost of travel to and from your professional work experience placement or professional experience module.


Starting in September 2022

Starting in January 2023

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.